2019 – 2020 String Project Faculty
Dr. Laurie Scott
String Project Director
Laurie Scott is Associate Professor of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she serves as the director of The University of Texas String Project and the Musical Lives string program at UT Elementary School. Previous to this appointment, Dr. Scott served as professor of violin and viola and director of music education studies at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. As a university professor she has received both the Teaching Excellence Award from the School of Music and from the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. A former middle and high school orchestra director, she now mentors young professionals toward successful lives as string educators. In every facet of her teaching Dr. Scott serves as an advocate for inclusive and diverse music classrooms, adult music learners, and access to quality music instruction for all children. She is a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and continues to maintain a private violin studio and works weekly with the students in the Musical Lives orchestra program at UT Elementary School. Her former students have become exemplary string educators, professional studio and symphony musicians, and passionate arts advocates. She is co-author with William Dick of the books Mastery for Strings, Level I and II, and From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Performers become Great Teachers, is co-authored with Cornelia Watkins. Laurie Scott along with William Dick and Winifred Crock, are the co-authors of Learning Together: Sequential Repertoire for Solo Strings or String Ensembles and received a Creating Learning Community award from the SAA for their work related to Suzuki in the Schools. In 2020 Dr. Scott was recognized by alumni as one of the “Texas Ten” most influential and inspiring professors at UT Austin.
Assistant Director and Program Coordinator
In addition to working for the UT Austin String Project, Dana is a private bass teacher, Orchestra Program manager for Austin Soundwaves , and director of the Intermezzo Orchestra with Austin Youth Orchestra. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, she received a Bachelor of Music Education from Alma College. She moved to Austin in 2013 and earned her Master’s in Double Bass Performance from UT Austin in 2015, where she first met Dr. Laurie Scott and taught with String Project. Dana began playing violin in the fifth grade, but after discovering the double bass in middle school she found her true love! Before returning to String Project as the Program Coordinator, she was the Director of Orchestras at Murchison Middle School. You can find Dana playing her bass all over Austin and performing with the orchestra folk band American Dreamer as well as her original band Magnolia Kids. In her spare time, Dana loves to spend time crafting, hanging out with her cats, and taking care of plants.
Growing up in New Mexico, Anthony Mariano has been recognized as a premiere guitarist in the Albuquerque area, receiving the position of Concertmaster for the second annual New Mexico All-State Guitar Ensemble in 2011. Anthony finished his Bachelor’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2105 under the instruction of David Tanenbaum, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s finest guitarists. He was chosen by the faculty in 2013 to perform in the school’s annual Guitarrada, an event featuring music played on some of the world’s finest historical guitars. Currently, Anthony is a member of graduate program at the University of Texas Butler School of Music under the instruction of Adam Holzman.
Anthony strongly believes that music is an invaluable part of life, and he takes great pleasure in teaching that art to people of all ages. His primary goal as a classical guitar teacher is to provide his students with the ability to connect and interact with what they feel, and to provide them with the opportunity to share that experience with others. As both a private instructor and an ensemble conductor, Anthony tries to instill in his students an appreciation for both music, and the process of working hard, focusing, and interacting well with others in a group.
Alyse French, double bass
Alyse French is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She graduated from Plano East Senior High School in 2019, where she participated in the school orchestra and All-Region orchestras. In high school, Alyse participated in a program called United Sound, in which she taught special needs students how to play string instruments. Alyse now studies in the studio of Joel Braun at UT and has performed in the University Orchestra. Alyse hopes to give students the experiences they need to enjoy performing and making music. In her free time, Alyse likes to read and listen to music.
Augie Gmitter, bass
Avalon Nemec, general music
Avalon Brimat Nemec is pursuing a Masters in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Temple University, where she studied French horn with Daniel Williams, second hornist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. After graduating from Temple University in 2014, Avalon was the General Music and Choir teacher at Folk Arts-Cultur
al Treasures Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Throughout her 5 years of teaching, she held regular gigs in the Philadelphia area as a hornist, brass quartet leader, and church singer.
Avalon’s career interests include Orff-Schulwerk, folk arts education, and multicultural music education. She looks forward to publishing an article on co-teaching practices with a community artist (Spring 2020) and teaching early childhood music classes while in graduate school. Avalon is passionate about and committed to social justice in schools, caring for the community in which she teaches, and treasuring music and the arts as a necessary (and wonderful!) part of student learning and life.
Christine Le, intern
Clara Suh, violin
David Saccardi, double bass
David Saccardi is a PhD student in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches in the UT String Project in addition to his doctoral studies and research. He holds a Bachelors in Music Education and a Bachelors in Double Bass Performance from Colorado State University, and a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Michigan. He is an active adjudicator and clinician, having worked with orchestras in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Michigan, and Texas, as well as presenting at the state MEA conferences in Colorado and Wyoming. He has also been published in the journal of the American String Teachers Association.
Prior to coming to Texas, David taught middle school and high school orchestra in Loveland, Colorado, where during his tenure, the program grew to over 300 students and received numerous awards and Superior marks at state contest. Additionally, the orchestras from Loveland High School were recognized at the state level for both their academic achievements by the Colorado High School Activities Association, and for their excellence in musical theatre performance for the pit orchestra’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
David has been an avid performer and teacher of the double bass for nearly twenty years. Before moving to Austin, David performed with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra, the Greeley Philharmonic, the Steamboat Springs Symphony Orchestra, and served as Principal Double Bass of the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Symphony Orchestra. He has also trained numerous young bassists, many of whom have been selected as Colorado Allstate Principal Bassist, and others still who have received scholarships to pursue musical study at the university level.
David lives in Austin with his wife, Claire, and their Golden Retriever, Harper. Together, they enjoy traveling, cooking, being dog parents, being outdoors, and tacos. Mostly tacos.
Elora Ghosh, intern
Elora Ghosh is a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin and is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. As a native of Portland, Oregon, she began studying the violin at age 5 and most recently studied with Laura Ha. She has also studied operatic voice since age 13, and currently studies with Angela Niederloh. In high school, she was involved in the Portland Youth Philharmonic and Pacific Youth Choir, and served as a Peer Mentor her senior year, teaching private lessons to beginning upper elementary and middle school students. Elora has participated in the Oregon All-State orchestra, as well as the All-Northwest and All-National choirs. She has also been regularly featured on All Classical Portland both in ensembles and individually. In her free time, Elora enjoys reading, yoga, hiking, and spending time with family.
Emma Edwards, early childhood education
Emma Edwards is in her fourth year of study at the Butler School of Music. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Music Studies with a Recognition in French Horn performance under the study of Patrick Hughes. As a student at the Butler School, Emma has participated in numerous ensembles, including The University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Lab Orchestra, and University Orchestra. Additionally, Emma has performed with the UT Horn Choir, Longhorn Marching Band, and serves as the chorister for the Mu Theta chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon.
Although she now considers herself to be primarily a hornist, Emma has studied piano since the age of 5 and finds herself at the keyboard frequently. In addition to these, Emma has also studied voice, and more recently, guitar, privately. As a teacher, Emma focuses on exploring musical concepts through a broad range of medians, and has a particular interest in Early Childhood Music Education.
In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, spoiling her cat, Beau, as well as playing music around the Austin area. Emma has been teaching Early Childhood Music with the UT String Project since Fall 2018, and is currently completing training with MusicTogether and the Austin Suzuki Institute.
Evan Taucher, guitar
American classical guitarist Evan Taucher was born in 1992 and began studying the classical guitar at age 19. Since then, he has won numerous prizes in national and international competitions and has received worldwide acclaim.
During his two years of study with Cuban virtuoso Rene Izquierdo, Taucher won 8 separate prizes in professional competitions throughout the United States including 1st prizes in the Schubert Club Competition, Appalachian State Guitar Competition, and the SIYAO instrumental competition where he competed against all instruments and ensembles. In 2017 and 2019, Taucher was awarded grants from the U.S. Embassy to represent the United States at the GuitarArt festival in Belgrade, Serbia. In the summers of 2014 and 2015, he performed at Busch Gardens Tampa on both solo classical and electric guitar with the award-winning Burn the Floor dance company. Taucher was also the first guitarist to enter the University of Texas at Austin’s prestigious Artist Diploma program where he currently studies with Adam Holzman. In 2018, Taucher was chosen from all North American applicants as the Magellan Scholar which funded his studies at the Universitat d’Alacant in Spain for a Máster en Interpretación de Guitarra Clásica.
Taucher holds a Bachelor of Music from Florida State University where he studied with Bruce Holzman, as well as a Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with Rene Izquierdo. During his studies, Taucher had classes with musical luminaries such as John Williams, Alvaro Pierri, Sergio and Odair Assad, Aniello Desiderio, and Jakob Lindberg among others.
Taucher is passionate about sharing music on stages around the world, with two upcoming performances after his return to the USA, first at the Grand Rapids International Concert Artist Series and next as a guest artist at Guitar Sarasota. Taucher also strives to connect the vast guitar community through social media – namely Instagram and YouTube where he’s gained a large musical audience. Taucher hosts live-streamed technique classes as well as competitions targeted at connecting guitarists with young composers. Taucher also composed and recently had his piece “Three Scents” featured on the series “Born and Played”
Taucher is a D’Addario Artist and is sponsored by Accord Cases and Soundbrenner, and plays a guitar made by American luthier Steven Walter.
Hanson Yong, double bass
Hanson Yong is a first year Music Studies major pursuing his Bachelor’s at the University of Texas at Austin. In high school, Hanson played in the Plano Senior High School Chamber Orchestra, the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and was a four time TMEA All Region and All State orchestra member. More recently, Hanson was a part of the UT University Orchestra and UT Symphony Orchestra. He studied double bass under David Odegaard, Gudrun Raschen, DaXun Zhang and is continuing his studies with Joel Braun.
Hanson’s goal in teaching is to give students the ability to express themselves through their music and develop an appreciation of music.
In his free time, Hanson enjoys live music, searching for vintage clothes, and rooting for the Boston Celtics.
Jamey Strauss, violin
Jamey Strauss is a sophomore violinist at the Butler School of Music majoring in Music Studies. He graduated from Lake Travis High School in 2018, and participated in All-Region and All-State orchestras. Jamey studies in the studio of Sandy Yamamoto at UT, and is a member of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. Jamey has studied chamber music extensively in both the CHAMPS program in Austin and the chamber music program at UT. Apart from classical music, he also plays western swing and classic country music on violin. He played with the Lake Travis Fiddlers in high school and currently plays with The Rewinders.
Jen McKeeman, viola
Jennifer McKeeman is pursuing her Masters in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Batchelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin where she had the privilege to study viola with Roger Myers and music education with Dr. Laurie Scott and Dr. Robert Duke.
A native Austinite, Jennifer began playing viola in sixth grade in South Austin. She owes her inspiration to become a music teacher to the incredible music directors and private lessons teachers that she had studied with while in public school orchestra. Jennifer has taught privately in the Austin and San Antonio areas since 2010 with a broad range of ages and experience levels. She has had the honor of attending various summer music festivals including the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Marrowstone Music Festival, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.
Most recently, Jennifer was the Orchestra Director at David Lee “Tex” Hill Middle School in San Antonio, TX for four years. Jennifer started when the school first opened, building the orchestra and fifth grade strings programs from the ground up. The Tex Hill Orchestras have earned consistent UIL Sweepstakes in addition to multiple “Best in Class” and “Overall Outstanding” honors in festivals held in New Braunfels, TX and Corpus Christi, TX.
Jennifer is thrilled to be back in her hometown doing what she loves: teaching and studying music. Her philosophy that any child can and should play music with excellence and joy is behind all of her teaching moments. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys writing, seeing live music, and spending time with friends and family.
Jessica MacNair, violin
Jessica is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she studied with Dr. Rebecca MacLeod. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she taught middle school orchestra in Concord, North Carolina for five years.
Jessica is an active member of the American Strings Teachers Association. She served on the leadership board of her state chapter and was awarded the George Bornoff Memorial Scholarship to attend national conference. Jessica is passionate about providing equitable access to string music education in underserved communities. She received her Suzuki Violin Book 1 training from Ronda Cole. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys hiking, traveling and gardening.
Joanna Ross, cello
Joanna Ross is a junior at the University of Texas pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Studies with a minor in Educational Psychology. Originally from Cypress, Texas, she began her cello studies in her middle school orchestra program. Soon after her introduction to the cello, she started studying privately with Sam Matthews and later with Patrick Moore. While in high school, teaching private lessons to younger students helped her realize her passion for teaching and helping others. In her time with the String Project, she has held the position of Instrument Room Steward along with teaching classes and private lessons. Over the past two summers, Joanna completed training in Suzuki Cello books 1, 2, and 3 under the instruction of Alice Ann O’Neill and Andrea Yun. In addition to her cello studies, she enjoys singing in the UT University Chorus, and is an active member of the Mu Theta chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon. In the rare occasion that Joanna is not at the music building, she loves crafting, trying new vegan restaurants around Austin, and spending time with her favorite cat, Louis.
Justin Lader, viola
Justin Lader is a graduate student pursuing the PhD program in Music in Human Learning at UT Austin. Mr. Lader holds a Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the University of Oregon and received his Bachelor’s of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory. His principal teachers have been Leslie Straka, Peter Slowik, Karen Ritscher, and Roger Chase. Besides expertise in classical music, he is a specialist in Middle-Eastern improvisation, Celtic fiddle, and electronic music.
Mr. Lader began teaching private lessons in 2008 while completing his studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He served as orchestra department coordinator and faculty instructor at the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts – Community Music School from 2009-2017, teaching both violin and viola. From 2010-2016 Mr. Lader served as an Adjunct Instructor teaching private lessons, coaching chamber music and group classes at the University of Oregon’s Community Music Institute and Suzuki Strings Program. From 2013-2014 Mr. Lader taught world music at the The Village School, a Public Charter School inspired by Waldorf Education, in Eugene, Oregon. From 2014 to 2019 he conducted the strings program at the Eugene Waldorf School. In 2015 he created, directed, and taught at The Shedd Institutes Chamber Strings camp. The summer of 2016 he taught and directed The Shedd’s Chamber Music Camp, in addition to the Beginning Strings Camp. Also in the summer of 2016, he was also a guest instructor at the Off The Hook Arts Summer Music Workshop in Fort Collins, Colorado.
As a freelance artist Mr. Lader regularly performs throughout the West Coast with renowned Celtic Harper, David Helfand. The duo performs original and traditional music that is influenced by Middle Eastern, Celtic, and Indian styles. Together with David Helfand, the duo has released three albums, “Through the Portal,” “From a Distant Time: Inspirations from the Celtic Lands,’ and “After the Rain.”
Other collaborative projects include recording and performing with Jake McNeillie and Company, This Patch of Sky, We Have A Ghost, and Albert Howell. Additionally, Mr. Lader performs outreach work with CardioStart International, offering live concerts to support the organization’s mission in providing free heart surgeries in developing countries.
Kevin Hulipas, intern
Kevin Hulipas is a violist from Houston, Texas. Passionate in music education he’s made an effort to teach and engage with his musical community froman early age in his music education. From teaching lessons after school since middle school, performing in ensembles across the state and country, and participating in summer classical music festivals, making music and sharing it with others is what impassions him. He’s studied with Sheldon Person and Roger Myers. Other than music, Kevin also enjoys cooking, exercising, and writing.
Laura Aldana, cello
Cellist Laura Vanessa Aldana is a native of Bogota, Colombia. She started her music education at the age of 6 at the Bogota Foundation Youth Symphony Orchestra.
In 2009 she joined the Pre Conservatory program at the National University of Colombia where she studied with Diego Garcia. She was awarded full scholarship during the eight years that she studied there. For four years she was part of the Youth Orchestra of the conservatory, where she was the principal of the cello section. In 2016, Laura moved to the United States to join the Pre-Conservatory Program at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School where she studied with Professor Tanya Remenikova at the University of Minnesota.
Laura Aldana has been awarded full scholarships to attend a number of Music festivals including the Intentional Cello Institute at St. Olaf College (2017-2018), Bravo! Summer String Music Camp held at Shattuck School (2017), the 2016 Esmeraldas International Music festival (Ecuador), among others. She won Honorable Mention at the Thursday musical competition, she played as one of the finalist of the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra Association (YPSCA) held by the Minnesota Orchestra and she was awarded a special music grant by the Schubert Club Organization.
Laura will continue her music studies with Prof. Bion Tsang at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Laura has performed in master classes for Emmanuel Feldman, Mark Kosower, Kurt Baldwin, Bruce Uchimura, Silver Ainomae, Anthony Ross, Peter Schmidt, Francisco Vila, Horacio Contreras, among others.
Luciano Monaco, guitar
Luciano Monaco, born in Campobasso (Italy) in 1990, started his classical guitar studies at the Conservatorio “L. Perosi” in Campobasso tutored by Pasqualino Garzia. He accomplished the ten-year course of study in seven years, graduating with honors under the tutelage of Alessandro Paris. Then, Luciano achieved his Master of Arts in Music Performance at Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano tutored by Lorenzo Micheli and attended the masterclass at Chigiana Academy in Siena in Oscar Ghiglia’s studio.
He has played solo recitals in Europe and the United States and has received top prizes in international competitions. In 2017, Luciano completed the Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Eliot Fisk and Jerome Mouffe. He is now pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Texas at Austin in Adam Holzman’s studio.
Melody Lihou, cello
Patricio Lopez, intern
Rey Rodriguez, guitar
Roger Graves, double bass
Roger Graves is a DMA student at the Butler School of Music, studying under the tutelage of Joel Braun. Roger completed his Master’s degree with Professor Braun at Ball State University in Indiana, and his Bachelor’s at Murray State University in Kentucky. Roger has performed with several regional orchestras in Indiana, including the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra, and others. He is currently performing with the Central Texas Philharmonic Orchestra while studying at UT.
Roger began studying the bass in college as a euphonium major at Murray State. His original studies were under the tutelage of previous cello professor Jinhee Han. Roger’s love for performing in orchestra turned into a love for performing on the bass, which eventually took the place as his major instrument from euphonium in future study.
Aside from music, Roger also holds a Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Ball State University.
Roxy Moore, cello
Sara Aldana, violin
Sara Melissa Aldana is a senior at The University of Texas and is pursuing a degree in violin performance through the Butler School of Music. A native of Bogota, Colombia, Sara spent four years as concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the National University of Colombia and toured Spain with the National University of Colombia Orchestra. She has been a member of the Bogota Foundation Symphony Orchestra, the Bogota Youth Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Clara Schumann Women’s Orchestra.
In 2019 Sara had the opportunity to perform Saint Saens Violin Concerto with the Austin Civic Orchestra as a winner of the Austin Civic Orchestra-BSoM Texas Rising Stars Strings Competition. In 2017 Sara won the Concerto Competition at the Butler School of Music which gave her the opportunity to perform the Barber Violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. In 2010, Sara won the Luis Angel Arango Library’s Youth Performer National Competition in Colombia. She was awarded the “Codabow Prize” in the Mary West Solo Competition in 2014. The following year, she won Grand Prize and First Place Senior Division at the Mankato Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and Honorable Mention at Thursday Musical Competition. In 2016, Sara was named as a finalist for both the Schubert Club and Schmidbauer Young Artist competitions.
Throughout the years, Sara has been offered full scholarships to attend summer music
festivals that include Kent/Blossom Music Festival (2016 and 2017), Bravo! Summer String and Keyboard Institute at the University of Minnesota (2014 and 2015), Cartagena Music Festival in Colombia (2014), Sewanee Summer Music Festival at the University of the South (2013), Santa Catarina Music Festival in Brazil (2013), Campos do Jordao International Music Festival in Brazil (2012), and the first Meeting of Latin American Suzuki Students in Peru (2010).
Sara is a student of Professor Brian Lewis as the recipient of the Starling Distinguished Violinist Scholarship. She previously studied with Sally O’Reilly as part of the Pre-Conservatory Program at Shattuck-St.Mary’s School, Liz Angela Garcia at the National University of Colombia, and Marcelino Prats at the National University of Colombia.
Sara currently plays on a violin graciously loaned by the Virtu Foundation.
Sarah Uy, violin
Sarah Uy is a violinist pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Studies under Sandy Yamamoto. She began studying the violin when she was five and hasn’t stopped since! Coming from the suburbs of Chicago, she took part in multiple music organizations at school and in the city. In high school, she was in Neuqua Valley’s Chamber Strings, Symphony Orchestra, Musical Pit Orchestra, and Tri-M. In addition, Uy became a Guided Practice Teacher her sophomore year, serving as a private lesson teacher to middle school students in the district. As a senior, Sarah was given the National Senior in Orchestra Award, Outstanding Senior in Music Award, and the Charles Staley Scholarship from her school. She is a four time district ILMEA Region and All-State participant, achieving the Honors level for her junior and senior years. In downtown Chicago, she was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras (CYSO) for seven years and traveled to Europe twice with the capstone orchestra. She was also involved in CYSO’s Chamber Music program, which included venturing to local Chicago Public Schools and giving presentations for elementary school students with little to no exposure to music programs.
Sarah is passionate about giving students equal opportunities and promoting change through education. She also loves the visual arts, and is looking to pursue a minor in Studio Art during her time at UT. In her free time, Sarah loves to try new musical instruments, do arts and crafts, and spend time with her dog.
Shelby Castleberry, intern
Shelby Castleberry is a freshman classical guitarist at the Butler School of Music studying with Professor Adam Holzman and pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Studies. She began classical guitar at age seven and studied with Danny Shoemaker, Paulina Puljek, and Dr. Steve Kostelnik. Throughout middle and high school, Shelby received Outstanding Soloist Awards at UIL State Solo & Ensemble contests, participated in the Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra, attended and volunteered at Texas Classical Guitar Camp, and studied with Professor Holzman at the Brevard Summer Music Festival.
Although Shelby’s primary focus is guitar, she is very involved in band and orchestra. She was a bassoonist, studying with Julia Windle Littleton, in the Westwood HS Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, she was a proud member of the WHS Marching Band where she played guitar, synthesizer, euphonium, and served as Drum Major for two years. In 2019 and 2020, Shelby marched cymbals at Rhythmic Force Percussion (PIO) under the direction of Jordan Garza. She was also a cymbal technician for the Smithson Valley HS Band and a marching band technician for the Vandegrift HS Band in 2019.
Aside from classical guitar, Shelby enjoys fishing, music theory, practicing Spanish, and is pursuing a Business minor. In her freetime, she has been teaching herself alto saxophone.
Shruthi Kattumenu, violin
A native of Plano, Texas, Shruthi Kattumenu began playing the violin at the age of four with Ms. Nicolette Solomon and further continued her violin studies with Mr. Jan Mark Sloman.
Recently, Shruthi received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the Butler School of Music where she studied under Professor Brian Lewis. She is continuing her studies at The University of Texas in pursuit of a Master’s degree in Violin Performance with Professor William Fedkenheuer. During her time at The University of Texas at Austin, she has served as principal of The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, played leadership roles as part of the Butler Opera Center and UT Lab Orchestra, and been selected to take part in the Intensive Seminar led by the Miro Quartet.
Throughout the years, she has been fortunate to study both solo and chamber music with Almita and Roland Vamos, Ko Iwasaki, Pamela Mia Paul, Frank Almond, Laurie Smukler, Cho-Liang Lin, Giora Schmidt, Sergiu Luca, and members of the Miro Quartet among others. These experiences with highly gifted performers and educators have strongly shaped Shruthi’s musical and teaching philosophy. Her methods center around communication, and how best to connect student, teacher, parent, and audience in this art form.
Outside of school, Shruthi subs in the Waco Symphony and Canton Symphony, collaborates with and premieres works by emerging composers, and teaches violin privately. She is also a faculty member of the UT String Project, where she currently teaches individual lessons, theory classes, group classes, and mixed ensemble groups.
Tsz To Wong, cello
Born and raised in Hong Kong, award-winning cellist Tsz To Wong is one of the rising stars in his generation. Since his debut in 2007, Tsz To appeared as a soloist with orchestras regularly and his performances includes Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, Haydn’s Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations and Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody. He has worked with some of the greatest musicians in the 20th century such as Lorin Maazel, Andris Nelsons, Lynn Harrell, Norman Fischer, Desmond Hoebig, James Dunham, Peter Salaff, the Juilliard String Quartet and the Cavani String Quartet. He recently performed in the program “Lincoln Center Stage” in collaboration with Holland America Line. In the summer of 2019, he was invited to perform at Tanglewood Music Center as a fellow.
Tsz To holds a Master degree in Suzuki Pedagogy and Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Mark Kosower and a Master degree in Cello Performance from Rice University under the tutelage of Norman Fischer. Already in his 22nd year of playing the cello and the 10th year of teaching, Tsz To is a fully- trained Suzuki cello teacher. He has registered training of Cello Unit 1-10 and Every Child Can! with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. For two years he worked as an assistant teacher at the Sato Center for Suzuki Studies in Cleveland Ohio. He also had the experience of directing a middle school orchestra program for two years apart from active teaching of private lessons and group classes.
As the recipient of Appassionata Endowed Scholarship in Music from Rice University and Fellowship Diploma from Trinity Guild Hall, Tsz To is the top-prize winner of numerous competitions, including Gold Prize of the Cleveland Cello Society Competition 2016 – Collegiate Division, First Place of the American Protégé International Piano and Strings Competition 2016 – College students and professional musicians and the second runner-up in the Getting to Carnegie – Cello Competition in New York. He was also awarded the Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong Arts Circle Fellowship and the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs Music Scholarship.
Yvonne Davila, violin
Yvonne Davila is originally from Chicago, Illinois and began Suzuki violin at the age of five. She attended DePaul University and received her B.M. in Music Business and Violin Performance under Joseph Genualdi. During that time, she had the opportunity to substitute for the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She received her M.M. in Violin Performance at UW-Madison under Vartan Manoogian. Yvonne has appeared as a soloist at the AIMS Music Festival in Solsona, Spain and at the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green, WI. While in WI, she was a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and a substitute with The Madison Symphony Orchestra. Yvonne has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Ripon College, conducted an elementary string orchestra in McFarland, Wisconsin and established Suzuki violin studios in both Madison and Spring Green. Yvonne is currently a doctoral candidate in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a middle school Orchestra Director in Round Rock, TX and an experienced Suzuki method violin teacher. She teaches at The University of Texas at Austin String Project, which she has also served as Preschool Coordinator and Assistant Director. She is an active clinician and has presented her work at the Suzuki of the Americas Association, American String Teacher of America conferences, and Texas Music Educators Association. Her research focuses on children’s musical development, parental education, and children’s musical achievement.